Everyone wants to save money, and dining out is a constant pain point for millions. However, there are plenty of ways to save a few dollars when eating out! Recently, frugal diners met in an online discussion to exchange the best tips for enjoying a meal outside your home while still being financially responsible.
1. Eat at Costco
For whatever reason, the prices at the Costco food court are a blast from the past, seemingly set in the 1970s and unchanged since. With hot dogs, pizzas, and chicken dishes at rock-bottom prices, it's not a bad place to share a meal with the family – before you head inside to buy household items in bulk, of course.
2. Have a Pizza Picnic
Picnics are always a joyous occasion – assuming the ants stay away. One frugal person reveals his secret to a perfect summer evening. “We do a pizza picnic when the weather's nice,” he explains. “Luckily, there is a Papa John's a block from the park, so we do the $7.99 carryout deal, get a fountain drink at the gas station for $1, and spend a few hours at the park.”
3. Take Advantage of “Kids Eat Free” Promotions
What's the best way for some of your family members to be frugal when eating out? By not paying a cent for their meals! Many local chain restaurants offer “Kids Eat Free” promotions, which provide a free children's meal with the purchase of a full-priced adult meal. Smaller restaurants aren't the only establishments offering this, either – nationwide chains like Denny's frequently run this game-changing promotion!
4. Utilize Local Mexican Restaurants
Eating at local Mexican restaurants is one of the best tips you'll read about today. “I've been going to Mexican restaurants lately,” confesses one frugal woman. “They often provide unlimited chips and salsa. The dishes are also pretty filling for the price.” I will add, “And everything tastes delicious” to this rave review.
5. Only Dine Out For Breakfast
If you're looking to save, consider only going out for breakfast. Items are usually always less expensive than lunch or dinner items, and going out in the morning with friends and family can be just as memorable and enjoyable as eating out in the evening.
6. Stock Up on Gift Cards
One savvy saver has an ingenious method for ensuring she always has a healthy stack of gift cards. “Around Christmas, some restaurants offer gift card sales like ‘Buy $100, Get $20 free,'” she reveals. “We stock up on our favorites and use them when we feel like eating out.” If you know, you will be eating out regularly, taking advantage of what is essentially free money is a no-brainer!
7. Stick To Water
Purchasing soft drinks when eating out isn't the smartest way to spend your hard-earned money. Soft drinks are becoming prohibitively more expensive as the years go by, so the best method to counteract this is to order water instead of a soft drink. Not only is it healthier for you, but it'll also ease the stress on your wallet.
8. Dine During Happy Hour
One man's early bird special is another man's happy hour. If you don't mind eating dinner a few hours earlier in the evening, taking advantage of happy hour prices is one of the best ways to be more frugal when eating out. Many diners are surprised at the discounts available during this time, with items often being discounted by 50% or more.
9. Try This Chinese Buffet Hack
Surprisingly, plenty of Chinese buffet restaurants allow you to purchase a carryout meal. One woman has perfected a savvy strategy she uses to feed her family on occasion. “When I was too pressed for time to cook for my family of six, I would sometimes stop by a Chinese buffet and buy one carryout meal,” she explains.
“They would let me fill a box with anything I wanted, so I would fill it with meat (chicken and shrimp) with some broccoli on top. I would make rice at home, then top it with meat and veggies. I fed six people easily for the price of one.” Now that's a brilliant mom.
10. Dine at Fast-Casual Restaurants
As the cost to dine out gets higher and higher, many people admit that the extra 15-20% tip they are expected to leave gives them anxiety by the end of their meal. So here's a solution: Dine at restaurants designated as fast-casual, like Chipotle or Subway, which means you receive your meal when you pay at the counter. Tipping is not required at these establishments, resulting in a meal that doesn't break the bank.
10 Countries With the Best Food in the World
Welcome, fellow food adventurers, to a tantalizing expedition through the world's culinary wonders! If you're a passionate epicure or simply someone who appreciates the joys of good food, you've come to the right place. Get ready to embark on a delectable journey as we explore ten countries that have elevated the art of gastronomy to awe-inspiring heights.
The Secret to Staying Young After 40? Avoid These 14 Foods
Who doesn't like to grab a bite of their favorite food occasionally? But when you're over 40, you should be mindful of what you eat. Eating the wrong foods can increase your risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Broke and Hungry? These 11 Cheap Foods Will Keep You Full For Days
Are you broke but still need to eat? It can be hard to maintain a balanced diet when cash is tight. But don’t worry; there are plenty of cheap and nutritious foods that won’t break the bank yet will keep you full for days.
12 Grocery Shopping Secrets That Supermarkets Don’t Want You to Know
Do you ever wonder why you can never seem to stick to your budget, no matter how hard you try? These insider tips and tricks can help you save money and stay on a budget. So, buckle up and get ready to uncover the secrets of smart grocery shopping.
10 Tips for Surviving on $100 a Month for Food
Does anyone else groan at the rising price of strawberries in grocery stores? What about those eggs? As inflation increases, grocery bills unveil added layers of distress. But are these expensive grocery trips available? Can you survive on a food budget of $100 a month?
13 Frugal Tips to Control Food Spending That Could Save Big!
Saving on food is imperative to keeping a reasonable budget. Some simple actions are needed to ensure you are not overspending or even wasting money on food. These 13 frugal tips to control food spending should help you to create more savings and enjoy life a bit more.
This thread inspired this post.